2/23/09 Question of the week

Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)February 24, 2009

I thought it might be interesting to find out a bit more about each other, though some members do have some very nice blurbs on their Member Pages.

When did you initially become interested in gardening? Who was instrumental in you becoming interested in gardening.

Since it is late, I will ponder this and reply later. Most of you know how 'wordy' I usually am.


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I'll answer first, Sue.

Grandma and Grandpa on my mom's side where the ones.

Summers spent on a veggie and flower farm.

You went to work in the beds when, as Grandpa said, you became "knee high to a grasshopper."
In other words, as soon as you could walk and carry something useful in your hands.

Earliest memories where on hands and knees to get a closer look as the seeds where planted. Then how to weed by learning what the seedling looked like and anything else you pull. OR, if it's easy to pull out you goofed, it it's hard to pull, keep working at it cause it's bad, a weed.

My siblings and I learned our basic colors on the farm by working with the flowers and veggies. We learned to count by counting the number of big seeds that where planted.

We learned about "good bugs" and "bad bugs", companion planting before it had a name.

We learned about natural ways to keep the bugs away and why Grandma had to huge blenders and we only saw the second one used during farm season. that one was used to mix the most wretched smelling, disgusting looking liquid known to man. It was the home made spray to keep the bugs off the flowers and the veggies.

We also learned what the sole purpose for tobacco was. Cartons of cigarettes where all over the farm and no one smoked. They took out the tobacco and made tea with it to add to that wretched bug stuff and it works too, at least for most "bad bugs".

We learned how to protect the plants from droughts as best we could, and then mother nature was in control. That is except for those tomatoes.

Nothing, no one, even mother nature was allowed to destroy those 200 or so tomato plants that where Grandpa's.
No one could touch them either, that is, if you wanted to have hands left after you touched them.

They where grandpa's pride and joy.

When I mean nothing could ruin them, that includes a drought. OMG, I still can remember the "big drought" when I was a kid. Farms producing nothing, flowers going dead, but not those tomatoes.

I can still see the torture we went through, as if it where going on.

Forget rain barrels, no rain to fill, forget hoses and irrigation. There was a total water ban, but hose toms where going to make it and they did. But it was at the rest of our expense.

Every drop of water was collected from any source possible within the house.

Sinks where filled when we washed and the water in the sink collected. the water drain from the dishwasher was disconnected and a new hose attaced to drain the water into the rain barrel. new trash barrels where bought to fill as well.

Only baths where allowed, no showers. No pull the drain and let the water out. A siphon system was made to siphon off all the water from the tubs. With seven of us there in the summer, including 3 young kids, thee was plenty of water in the tubs ever day.

We have expected the toilet water to be used, but that was going a little too far.

When we didn't produce enough water, he went to the neighbors on either side of the house and they let him set up the systems in their homes to get every bit of water.

It worked, and the only thing growing that year was 200 even tomato plants with the best toms I've ever had.

Now Grandma, taught about the beauty of flowers and the simplicity of growing them. Grow what you like and enjoy every bit of it. She had separate beds for different flowers for the farm itself, and then their where here beds that where stuffed to the gills with what she loved. So stuffed that only the tiny feet of grandkids could get in there and bring flowers into the house for her.

Her beds where always a work of art, never finished, never started, just there and going and going and going.

Only requirements where shade in shade and sun in sun. part sun got both part sun and sun. Tall in the back, working to the front where the "peanut ones went". those little tiny things.

She loved to let nature take it's course and see what would cross on it's own and then save the seeds to see if she could keep those new ones coming back. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.

Oh, they also taught me about saving seeds for next year, and never plant out in MA, no matter where you love in MA before May 31st. Memorial day.
Anything planted out before that, was not meant to grow, cause it's history, unless it's supposed to be grown in the cold.

I've kept to that with my garden plants and if I went before the date, I always lost it, even with WS seedlings.

I also learned that if you do things right, plant things well, rotate veggie crops, provide good nutrients to you beds and lawns, you pretty much don't need any chemicals, unless you have to deal with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. "that is a horse of a different color and anything is fair game to destroy that.

I only wish that they where alive today to experience WS and see how what they have taught me as a kid, has been well learned and continued on with me.

Fran, who can be just as wordy as Sue, if not more so.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 1:18AM
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I remember my Mom planting marigolds and zinnias in the bed on the side of the house.

And it all started one year when my DAD decided to landscape the whole yard and we planted a line of privet hedges all along the pack and then lilac bushes and on and on.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:56AM
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my gram and aunt on my mothers side. they gave me the love of flowers n growing them. my gram past away many years ago when i was still a kid, n im proud im keeping her flowers growing for her. they remind me of her every time i see them. i planted some on her grave n keep a eye out on them.
my grandpap tried to mow them all down when my gram passed away. seeing them without her hurt him. lucky they were perennials. my aunt dug em up n took care of them. then handed some down to me. i hope one day ill pass some down to my kids.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:19AM
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playintheyard(zn6 MA)

Growing up we always had veggie gardens. I remember how cool the pole beans looked growing up the stick and how I hated weeding and picking bush beans!! Sundays were always family day aka chore day. lol.

I remember my mothers beautiful hollyhocks she got from her Aunts house & my mother Dahlias they were awesome! She must of spent a fortune on all those bulbs.

Gardening became something fun & beautiful to me (not just chores and hard work) after buying mt first house plant at a school fair in 5th or 6th grade. It was a Swedish ivy. I had that plant or new one started from it w/ me when I got married and moved out at 23.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 1:21PM
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My mom. She had me in the garden before I could even walk. Our living room looked like a jungle from houseplants. Our yard was nothing but flower and veggie gardens. I honestly feel like I have been gardening all of my life. I was snapping beans, pulling carrots and canning toms before I went to kindergarten. Now my yard looks just like my moms did, and my living room just as well.
My love for plants of all kinds is owed to my mom. Thank you mom!


I do have to give my dad some credit, as he farmed all his life, and he taught me the value of hard work and the rewards of the great harvest.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 3:04PM
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zubababy(6b Utah)

I was raised in a small town where are lawn was, mowed down weeds. I remember picking pears and raspberries when I was a child. That was the extent of growing things when I was young. I don't remember anyone on my street having nice yards. There were a few neighbors that grew veggie gardens.

I didn't really get into gardening until 2007 when I got a regular route at my job. I saw the same yards every day. I started to notice the different flowers as they grew. The only flower I knew the name to, at this point was a petunia and a tulip. I started looking at flower websites. Then the orders were submitted. But I couldnt wait for the order to arrive. So another order was submitted.

I started researching the plants that I liked. If the customers were outside, I would ask them the names of the plants so that I could look them up. Somewhere in that research time I found this site. I read many different forums for a few months before I registered. I have since, been reading the forums here at GW everyday for hours. I have found out that my sister in Colorado is also interested in gardening, although not as obsessed as I am. My brother is also interested in gardening, which was a huge surprise to me. We didnÂt grow up with gardening, but 3 of us have taken on this wonderful hobby.

Last year was the first year I grew anything from seed. We had a very prosperous veggie garden learned that I donÂt need three zucchini plants. Most of my winter sown seeds got turned over from my dogs last year. So I didnÂt get as many flowers as I would have liked. This year IÂve put the containers on a table, and already have some sprouts. I can see that it is going to be a much better year.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:26PM
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rbrady(5/Eastern Ia)

I have to give all the credit to my mom. As a child we had a perfectly manicured yard, with loads of flower beds and a vegetable garden. She had to have the grass mowed a certain way, and dad was never allowed to do it...because he never did it right. We were also never allowed to play in the front yard, she would tell us that it makes the yard look messy! Neighborhood kids were never allowed to cut through our yard, and once someone accidentally cut the corner too sharp and drove through our grass (we had a corner lot) so my mom solved that problem by having large boulders put in the corner. Needless to say, it never happened again.

Her vegetable garden was awesome. Never a weed or bad bug. We could eat all we wanted, just had to be careful not to step on anything. Nothing is better than standing in the garden eating tomatoes and cucumbers. Still to this day I prefer raw green beans to cooked ones.

When we got a little older, my parents (dad) sold the house and bought a tavern. My mom was ticked (putting it lightly) It had nothing but a HUGE gravel parking lot. So what did my mom do? She cut the lot in half, brought in tons of black dirt and made a garden. She even planted trees. My dad and some of the patrons of the bar said it wouldn't work. I'll tell ya-she had tomatoes and flowers the next year!

She's getting older now and doesn't obsess nearly like she used to, but she has 5 acres and she mows the darn thing perfectly every week!

I didn't pick up hear obsessiveness, but I picked up her love of gardening. And, like her, I spend every moment I can outside when it is nice enough. Thanks Mom!


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:02PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Keep them coming...am enjoying them all.

As a child I did not have much of a hand in gardening but do remember eating the fresh strawberries and corn on the cob grown by my Gram.

Once I was on my own, and living in an apartment in the country, my landlord plowed me up a spot 'out back' for a few tomatoes. Well that was a disaster, as the soil was not worked up well, and it was soon just a weed patch.

Later, after I moved, I had a wonderful elderly neighbor who really introduced me to flower gardening. I helped her with outside projects, and she shared flowers with me and fed me well.

After finally getting in my house, I got 'into it' more, though really got hooked on it after getting a computer, finding GW, and starting into the trading craze. I enjoy trading and sharing seeds, but also enjoy trading plants, cuttings, bulbs, etc.

Each year beds are expanded or new ones are planned out for all the new things I hope/plan to grow. I enjoy reaping the benefits of the veggie garden, and have canned and frozen the excess for years now. With the tightening economy, I plan to expand the veggie garden quite a bit this year.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 9:57AM
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Hi Sue, every one;;
Mine all started from my grandparents,,I was planting right along side my grandfather as a young child and learned it all,the rows, tillin soil,planting the green beans was my job, i would count 3 and move over a little,it seemed like alot of work back then,but not bad once I got to see it all grow, and when i first picked one of the beans, oh what a great memory that was,,he used a pump and irrigated from the river, our stuff grew really good, and lot faster as I recll than my neighbors,he used to like that, yup grampa did..
Now gramma had her berries,,how good they all were, strawberries, black berries, raspberries, and blue berries, we always had them in milk before bed, and alot of jams, and yummy desserts too.
I hadn't planted any thing in years, now I have been gardening now this is my 4th year and totally lovein every minute of it, hey even know what some things are before they flower now,haha,,
Good idea Sue, this was a great memeory, thanks Lisa

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 6:29PM
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My interest grew being raised up on a farm here in East Tennessee where we raised gardens every year.
My Grandparents, Mother always grew flowers in those days which I still have sweet memories of.
So growing veggies and flowers is still in my blood and here a lot of years later you'll find me still growing veggies and flowers in my yard. I enjoy this very much in the warm months and always will.
One of the real pretties I remember is one morning in the early fall I walked over to the corn field where the tassels had done turned red. Wild morning glories up almost every stalk of curing corn in bloom with a host of different colors. The early morning sun shinning causing a gleam through a very lite haze of fog that morning. That was one of the prettious sites I ever saw and always stuck in my memories after all these years.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 12:56PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

My dad would dig the garden and sow the seeds while we were in school. The rest of the work was left to us kids and my mom. I hated all the weed pulling and hoeing and harvesting those bush beans. After weeks and weeks of picking beans for dinner and canning Mom would say "Next time pull up a plant or two of beans and throw them into the pasture." LOL, one of my favorite memories.

We were happy when melons ripened and we would pick one to eat while we walked to the end of the pasture to bring home the milk cows.

Mom didn't have much success with flowers though always had a long row of four o'clocks at the front of the vegetable garden. With a huge family (eleven kids) she was probably too exhausted to take care of a flower bed.

I started gardening with houseplants while in college then added a vegetable bed when we had our first home. I was a science major and soon learned that gardening was a great way to experiment at home--raised beds, organic gardening, square foot gardening,winter sowing, always something new to try.

For forty years I have been gardening. Some years it was just a small vegetable garden and a few flowers around the yard as I concentrated on growing kids. Our yard was the one full of neighborhood kids.

We moved often so didn't want to invest a lot of money and effort into big gardening projects.

Have been in this house for 12 years and plan to be here a few more years. Since finding winter sowing I have added many new plants and flower beds. I "retired" a couple of years ago and now spend most of my free time gardening, working in my own yard or helping others with their gardens.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 2:27PM
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